How PCOS Impacts Fertility
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common health problem affecting 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance.
How does PCOS impact fertility?
Women with PCOS have imbalances in their reproductive hormones, typically caused by higher levels of androgens or “male hormones”. The higher presence of androgens can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg during the menstrual cycle. During the typical process of ovulation, through a series of hormones (including LH, FSH, and estrogen), the ovaries release an egg. The empty follicle from which the egg came then releases progesterone, which prepares the uterus for conception and supports pregnancy. With PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should, or it may not be released during ovulation as it should. This lack of ovulation or insufficient ovulation results in low progesterone. Low or no progesterone means the woman is not hormonally able to get and stay pregnant. Due to this, PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.
Can I still get pregnant if I have PCOS?
Yes, in fact, PCOS is one of the most common, but treatable, causes of infertility. Having PCOS does not mean you can’t get pregnant. In women with PCOS, hormone imbalance interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). Simply put, if you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.
Therefore, if you have PCOS it is important to make sure you are ovulating. Since progesterone is released after ovulation, monitoring progesterone is a great way to confirm you are ovulating and producing enough progesterone to support conception. If you have PCOS and are struggling with getting pregnant, Proov can help you confirm you are ovulating and that you are producing enough progesterone to support conception. Proov is the first rapid response progesterone test – just pee, dip the test, wait 5 minutes and read results – all from the comfort of your own home. Proov is especially helpful for women with PCOS who have unpredictable cycles, as each kit contains 7 strips, allowing a woman to test progesterone 7 times vs. a one-time blood test.
What if I’m not ovulating?
The good news is that after you’ve monitored your hormones with ovulation predictor kits and Proov, and discover you are not ovulating properly or at all, there are several simple and effective treatment options available to you. Your doctor can talk with you about ways to help you ovulate, raise your progesterone levels, and increase your chance of getting pregnant.